Trade officials convene in Singapore for Trans-Pacific Partnership ministerial meeting

Trade ministers and representatives attend the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore, on Dec 7, 2013. Trade ministers and officials from 12 countries arrived in Singapore on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, for the start of the Trans
Trade ministers and representatives attend the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore, on Dec 7, 2013. Trade ministers and officials from 12 countries arrived in Singapore on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, for the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting, which will continue until Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

Trade ministers and officials from 12 countries arrived in Singapore on Saturday for the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting, which will continue until Tuesday.

The ambitious trade pact aims to improve the flow of capital, goods and services among 12 countries - Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The nations are a massive market for Singapore with 790 million people, total economic output of about US$28 trillion (S$35 trillion) last year and accounting for almost $300 billion or more than 30 per cent of Singapore's goods trade last year.

The agreement is expected to benefit Singapore by going beyond tariff elimination and other traditional trade barriers to tackle issues such as encouraging regulatory best practices and standardising trade facilitation rules.

As a possible route to the long-envisioned Free Trade Area for the Asia Pacific, the TPP is also expected to boost regional economic integration.